The inspiration for these rugs comes from traditional Swedish handicraft, where leftover fabric scraps are woven into rag rugs – a smart and responsible use of resources. The idea for TÅNUM originated from a young design student named Erik Bertell. He reimagined the rag rug in a modern way and showed that you could create contemporary and unique rugs using only reused textiles.
As we were developing the rug, the passionate manager of one of our supply factories came up with an idea – that women in the village of Karupannya, in Northern Bangladesh, should weave the rugs. He wanted to make everyday life for people in the village better by giving women jobs and a stable income. And since this region in Bangladesh is known for good textile craftsmanship, it was a perfect match.
The easiest way to produce the rugs would have been to make new fabrics instead of shipping leftover pieces to the weavers – but that wouldn’t be the IKEA way.
“We like to keep things simple, but also to make products in a more sustainable way. The supplier and the rug team at the IKEA office in New Delhi worked together to make it happen,” says Rasmus Jönsson, who works with TÅNUM.
Having people in Karupannya weave the rugs became a part of our initiative called Made by People: Handmade rugs. It’s a long-term IKEA project that establishes weaving centres close to villages. By bringing weavers together, the production process and the working environment can be monitored and improved. This creates better conditions for the weavers, their families and ultimately the rug industry throughout the region. We’re also helping to develop a new loom that enables weavers to have a more ergonomic working position and requires less muscle power to operate.
“The best part is that we can offer functional and beautiful rugs for thousands of homes by using leftover materials, and at the same time create jobs for women in Bangladesh. It's good for both people and the planet," says Rasmus.